After seeing Jackie Bradley Jr. for nearly half a season, the 24-year-old has failed to really hold on to the starting centerfielder role on the 2014 Boston Red Sox. Sure, he may be leading the team on average with runners in scoring position, but he has failed to do anything else at the plate on a consistent basis.
In 275 plate appearances with the big league club this season, Bradley has hit at a .208 clip which is just a smidge higher than his career. .203 mark. While he does have 24 walks on the season, he strikes out way too much with 79 in 77 games he has played in.
With the nine assists being third in MLB among outfielders, it may be tough for the Red Sox to sit the player who is making play after play on the defensive end, even with his offensive production being abysmal at best.
The Red Sox are currently eight games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. If the team hopes to turn anything around, then the offense is the first thing that needs to get going and Bradley is not even close to the answer.
What needs to happen is that the team should send him back to Triple-A Pawtucket until he tweaks his approach at the plate. Once he shows he can hit with at least a .270 average, then the team can decide whether or not he should be back up with the Red Sox. Plus, he needs to be willing to take more pitches outside of the zone rather than swing over breaking balls— which he is prone to do.
With Mookie Betts now up on the roster, he has already played a couple games in center while Bradley took a seat on the bench. With too many outfielders to play on a consistent basis, the Red Sox need to demote someone and the best option has to be Bradley.
With the Red Sox nine games under .500, the team needs to at least take a chance to fix Bradley in order for him to make a difference with the ball club going forward. Bradley is the future for center field and the Red Sox need to do everything in their power to make sure he can handle the offensive side of the ball better than a .200 average each season.
The Red Sox gave him a chance to prove himself and he has failed so far, so time to give someone else a shot until he can right the ship.